Melrose Park, IL --- The late season surge of Amy Giberson, Stephanie Winship, Carl Lacy and Monty Thompson’s Silver Devil continued on Friday (Nov. 22) as the handsome roan gelding completely dismantled five other Illinois conceived and foaled 3-year-old pacing colts in a 6-1/4 length romp while taking the $15,000 Cole Muffler Stake at Maywood Park. The final time was 1:54.
Taking full advantage of a nice inside draw and the defection of his main rival, Mystical Walter, who was a judges scratch, the altered son of Duneside Perch-Armbro Wahine swept from third to first after watching Golden Nugget (Jason Brewer) and Fox Valley Norman (John Roberts) battle through an opening quarter in :27.4.
In command of the proceedings the rest of the way the Nick Giberson trained sophomore rattled off middle splits of :56.4 and 1:25.4 while putting daylight between himself and his competition.
Leaving his rivals in his wake on the final turn, Silver Devil sealed the deal with a :28.1 final quarter to post his 11th win in 26 starts this season. Monopoly Man (John De Long) rallied to be second while Colechester (Sam Widger) finished a distant third.
Unraced as a 2-year-old, the 1-5 favorite of the betting public returned $2.40, $2.10 and $2.10 while upping his record to 11-2-1 in 26 lifetime starts with earnings of $84,614.
Continuing a nice late season surge towards divisional honors, James Bafia and Eugene White’s Bailey’s Wish completely dominated nine rivals in the year’s richest race for Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old trotting fillies, winning Wednesday's $105,000 Lady Lincoln Land Stake by 3 1/2 lengths at Balmoral Park. The final time was 1:59.4.
Given a perfect steer by driver Dave Magee, the daughter of Southwind Breeze-Jen was hustled to the front after landing in fourth through an opening quarter in 29.4.
“I knew we had to gain some early position since we were leaving from the eight hole,” explained Magee. “Once they started to slow down just a little bit on the front end I asked her to go and she moved up to the front very easily for me.”
Rolling through middle splits of 59.3 and 1:28.4, the Dirk Simpson trainee began to put daylight between herself and her struggling rivals as the field neared the top of the stretch.
On cruise control the rest of the way, Bailey’s Wish effortlessly trotted under the wire with her third win in her last four starts and her fourth win in 11 lifetime starts. Fox Valley Skylar (Dale Hiteman) rallied up the inside to finish second while Bands Pippa (Casey Leonard) was third.
“She was doing that all on her own,” said the Hall of Famer. “I don’t like to pressure her if I don’t have to. She just trotted right away from them and glided home with no urging from me whatsoever.”
The 8-5 co-favorite in the race returned $5.40, $3.20 and $3.00 while upping her career bankroll to $93,383.
Picking up right where he left off after posting seven wins, including four stake victories, on Saturday night’s card, driver Mike Oosting continued to dominate the Southland Festival of Racing action. guiding Derek Jacobus and Kevin Kline’s Divination to a three-quarter length score in Sunday’s $45,000 Fox Valley Evita Stake for Illinois conceived and foaled 3-year-old trotting fillies at Balmoral Park.
Confidently handled by Balmoral’s leading reinsman, the daughter of Southwind Breeze-Hocus Pocus was an unhurried fifth through the early stages as the Robert Taylor owned and trained entry of Little Ms Chrissy and Just For Fun (Casey Leonard) led the field through opening splits of :28.4 and 57.3.
Flushing out cover from a first over Trot Fudge Sundae (Dave Magee) as the field moved around the far turn, Oosting had Divination in a perfect second over striking position as Little Ms Chrissy showed the way by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:26.4.
“I knew it was time to go before those fillies up front got away from us,” said Oosting. “I needed to make the leaders go on because I didn’t know if my filly could out trot them from where we were. Getting cover was just an added bonus for us.”
Through the stretch a hard charging Divination took dead aim on a leg weary Little Ms Chrissy. Cruising down the center of the racetrack the five-time winner in 2013 swallowed up the pacesetter with a sixteenth of a mile to go and quickly drew clear for the victory. Little Ms Chrissy held on for second while Just For Fun was third.
“This filly is really starting to find her best stride right now,” said the red-hot Oosting. “She has always been right there with this group but she’s had a tough time getting by them. Nick (Prather) has done a great job getting her to come around at just the right time and it could be a very nice summer for her.”
With the win Divination now boasts a career record of 6-8-2 in 25 starts with earnings of $61,930.